Bledsoe v. Astrue

Filing 14

ORDER that plaintiff's motion to reverse the final decision of the ALJ is hereby DENIED 8 and the decision of the Commissioner is hereby AFFIRMED.Signed by Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr. on 9/23/09. (Enss, Rhonda)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI WESTERN DIVISION THOMAS A. BLEDSOE Plaintiff, v. MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, Commissioner, Social Security Administration Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) No. 08-0818-CV-W-FJG-SSA ) ) ) ) ) ) ORDER This action is a proceeding for disability insurance benefits under Title II and XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 405(g). On November 14, 2005, plaintiff filed an application for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act. Plaintiff's application was denied at the initial stage of administrative review. He appealed the denial to an administrative law judge ("ALJ"). After two evidentiary hearings which took place on May 11, 2007, and September 19, 2007, respectively, the ALJ rendered a written decision on October 18, 2007, which found that plaintiff was not under a disability as defined in Titles II and XVI. Plaintiff requested a review of that decision and on September 10, 2008, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review. Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. The facts and arguments are presented in the parties' briefs and will not be repeated here. The Eighth Circuit recently stated the standard for judicial review of an ALJ's denial of benefits: Our role on review is to determine whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance, but is enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the Commissioner's conclusion. In determining whether existing evidence is substantial, we consider evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's decision as well as evidence that supports it. As long as substantial evidence in the record supports the Commissioner's decision, we may not reverse it because substantial evidence exists in the record that would have supported a contrary outcome or because we would have decided the case differently. Baker v. Barnhart, 457 F.3d 882, 892 (8th Cir. 2006), citing, McKinney v. Apfel, 228 F.3d 860, 863 (8th Cir.2000). The Court has thoroughly reviewed the parties' briefs, the decision of the ALJ, the transcript of the hearing and the medical and documentary evidence. After this review, the Court finds substantial evidence in the record to support the Commissioner's decision. Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to reverse the final decision of the ALJ is hereby DENIED (Doc. # 8) and the decision of the Commissioner is hereby AFFIRMED. Date: 09/23/09 Kansas City, Missouri S/ FERNANDO J. GAITAN, JR. Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr. Chief United States District Judge 2

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